What is Panko?

Panko are basically Japanese breadcrumbs. It is used in all kind of dishes, and can be found mainly in those that include fish and seafood.

Panko is commonly related with deep-fried dishes. One of its most common uses in sushi, is soaking an inside-out roll in tempura, then rolling it in panko, and lastly deep frying,

Some use panko to decorate and enrich inside out rolls with out frying the entire roll by frying the panko alone, and then spreading it over the inside out sushi roll just before cutting. A bit of tightening with the rolling mat and voila. The sushi roll is immediately enriched both in color and flavor.

Although the two are likely to bee seen together, panko and tempura are not the same thing at all. Both are used for coating, but unlike the tempura the panko is not sticky, and therefore sometimes used together with the first, in order to stick well enough during the frying process.



What is Tempura?

Tempura is a kind of japanese batter used as coating for deep fried vegetables, fish and seafood. One popular dish using tempura is deep fried, tempura coated carrot and sweet potato chips. As delicious as that dish is, our main interest in tempura regarding sushi comes in two other forms of tempura cooking:

  1. Fried sushi ingredients coated with tempura – such as shrimp tempura sushi roll.
  2. A fired sushi roll – entire roll is coated with tempura – That’s done when dipping an entire inside out roll in tempura batter, then usually rolled in panko as well, and then deep frying the entire roll. A very successful trick is to use melty cheese inside the deep fried roll. Works very well with a philadelphia sushi roll topped with parmesan cheese, for example.

Want to make tempura shrimp?

Great idea! If you need any help – follow this tutorial for making shrimp tempura at home for the first time.

Is it good for marking sushi?

Oh yea! Check out our recipes for Dragon SushiRoll & the Caterpillar Sushi Roll. Both make use of tempura fried shrimp wonderfully.

Caterpillar sushi roll

Caterpillar sushi roll




Oshinko (also “Takuan”) is a Japanese pickled radish. It has a strong flavor, and so can serve as a single filling in a small (hoso) maki roll, or as an addition to other fillings in Foto-maki, or Ura-maki rolls. Since pickled, the Oshinko can be stored for long periods in the fridge, even after opening – so it’s a relatively more convenient to handle than most sushi ingredients. Not only for sushi by the way, Oshinko works well in salads and other cold dishes. Oshinko is one of those wonderful things that you might happen to see on the menu of your local sushi place without knowing what it is. Well, we’re here to help! Read on for everything that you need to know.

What is Oshinko?

Oshinko is, at the root of it, a type of Japanese pickle. It’s usually made from a daikon radish, which looks a lot like a big, yellow carrot. Of course, other veggies can be used and a similar flavor can be achieved, though it’s typically oshinko.


The word ‘oshinko’ means ‘fragrant dish’, which is really in reference to the process of pickling. Pickling nearly anything will result in a powerful aroma, hence the name. This means that you could pick up a jar labeled ‘oshinko’, and the veg within might not be a daikon radish. As a rule of thumb: if the food is yellow, it’s very likely to be a radish in this case.

The pickled radish dish has a fairly standard taste – a combination of heady salt and potent pickling vinegar. That’s what you might expect from this recipe, and for good reason – the dish is pickled, and the food certainly has that taste to it.


Flavor Notes

Daikon is, of course, pickled radish. The recipe is something that’s typically referred to as a quick pickle – making use of salt and vinegar to quickly brine and pickle something. Daikon radishes are quite mild themselves (a cross between a carrot and a radish) which means that the pickled flavor comes through very strongly.

The best comparison that we’ve really got for the flavor is homemade sauerkraut: quite salty, as well as being notably acidic. Because you’re only eating a small amount, the flavor isn’t overwhelming, instead being well-paired with the seaweed and sushi rice. Oshinko has a flavor that’s quite typical of Japanese food. Therefore, if you’re a fan of Japanese food in general, then you’ll likely enjoy oshinko and oshinko maki rolls too.

Culinary Use Today

Generally speaking, oshinko is used in vegetarian versions of classic sushi recipes. The pickle is typically rolled with rice and seaweed to make sushi, which is then typically portioned into bite-sized pieces.

Because of the potent flavor that oshinko has, it is usually used sparingly and alone in sushi rolls. The rice and the seaweed serve to mellow out the overall flavor quite a lot, leading to a dish that has a strong flavor used sparingly.

A good comparison for this ingredient could be gochujang, the Korean hot chili paste. It has a very strong flavor on its own and therefore isn’t used as a condiment, but when used in small portions, it boosts a ramen dish out of this world.


Where can I get Oshinko?

Oshinko, as most sushi ingredients, can be purchased at Asian markets and food stores. Can also be found in online stores – see links below for Amazon:

Final thoughts

We hope that we’ve been able to answer any and all of the questions that you might have about Oshinko – it’s a wonderful ingredient that we love seeing in the world of sushi. If you’re in an Asian supermarket anytime soon, we’d recommend checking it out!
What is Inari, and what is it doing in my sushi?

What is Inari, and what is it doing in my sushi?

What is Inari?

Inari is a wonderful thing in the world of sushi – crispy, delicious, soft, and utterly unique. We adore them whenever we’re cooking or even going out for sushi. To learn a little more about the wonderful food, we’ve broken down some key pieces of knowledge for you here.


Inari sushi is a wonderful dish that has been around for a long, long time. Essentially, it comprises a tofu pocket that has been cooked in dashi broth to absorb the flavor, before being squeezed (to remove excess liquid) and stuff with sushi rice. The pockets are then fried so that the outer layer is wonderfully crispy.

The dish gets the name ‘Inari’ from a Japanese god of the same name. This deity is said to guard crops, as well as being a god of sake and fertility. A similar figure can be seen in a number of mythologies, such as Bacchus in Roman mythology or Dionysus in Greek mythology.

The god is said to resemble a fox, and so at fox-shaped statues within Inari shrines, these deep-fried tofu pockets are presented as offerings. This goes a little further, too. Foxes in the wild are said to be messengers of Inari, so the tofu-and-rice snack is sometimes given to them, too.

The dish has been enjoyed for over a hundred and seventy years, and in the 1980s, between 300,000 and 450,000 pouches were made every single day! Of all the soybeans that were used for tofu production in the world, a third was used for Inari, specifically.

While the love for these little pockets has shrunk a little, people do still adore them. Nowadays, it’s quite easy to track them down in the refrigerated sections of Asian supermarkets, but they can be found online quite easily too.

Culinary Use Today

Inari is definitely used and made all over the world today, but there’s an interesting little competition happening in Japan between Tokyo and Osaka. Because tofu and rice are such versatile ingredients, there have been a number of different recipes and methods of manufacture which have resulted in slight differences in the final product.

Tokyo-style Inari sushi is generally shaped a little like a straw bag (which is to say rectangular, with a bulge for the filling). The sushi rice within the Inari sushi is completely surrounded by the tofu, meaning that it maintains its heat and flavor a little more.

This has a little historical footing in that when the dish was originally created in this form, the rice was added to thank Inari for such a wonderful and prosperous harvest. Therefore, the sack-shaped Inari could have been representative of real-life sacks full of rice, leading to the miniature copycat.

Osaka-style Inari sushi is a different shape completely: triangular, with the rice exposed at the bottom of the shape. Sometimes, the inari sushi is inverted, so that the opening sits at the top of the triangle, exposing the rice from a birds-eye point of view. This is sometimes referred to as bag-shaped, as though a sack of rice has been opened, and is a little misshapen, thanks to the redistribution of the rice.

The main difference in terms of ingredients, though, is that Osaka-style Inari sushi is mixed with other ingredients to bring a number of additional flavors and textures to the mix. There are no hard and fast rules for this, and sushi chefs will often simply add their favorite ingredients.

The historical foothold for this triangular shape is that the triangular shape is slightly reminiscent of a fox’s pointy ears. As we mentioned before, the fox is considered the messenger of Inari (the god), and the god’s physical form is said to be that of a fox.

What It Brings To Sushi Making

Well, this is a tough question to answer, but it’s one that we enjoy thinking about.

The thing that we like about inari sushi is that it brings a lot of different flavors to one mouthful. A lot of sushi dishes are seemingly about the combination of one or two textures and similar flavors. Inari sushi combines the softness of tofu with the crispy outer shell, as well as the rich and fluffy texture of the internal rice. This combination is unique and fascinating, which is one of the wonderful reasons that Inari is still adored today.

We hope that you loved this brief look at Inari sushi – it’s one of our absolute favorite foods in the world of sushi, and if you haven’t tried it, make sure to pick some up! Alternatively: make some yourself!

Where can I get me some Inari?

As in most sushi ingredients, you can find Inari in your local Asian food store or Japanese market. This product is also available on our online store and through the link below.



What is Kombu?

Kombu (or Konbu), is a sort of dried kelp (which is a sort of sea-weed) used in many Japanese cuisines including sushi. Kombu is considered to be an important ingredient in creating Umami (savouriness). You probably already know that Umami is a loanword from Japanese meaning “good flavor” or “good taste”.

 How to use Kombu in sushi?

When preparing the sushi rice, just before you turn up the heat or start the rice cooker, throw in a small piece of Kombu. About 5 by 5 cm of Kombu should do for an average 3 cups rice batch. It is helpful at this point to make slits in one or more sides of the Kombu to help release its flavors.

Where can I get me some Kombu?

As in most sushi ingredients, you can find Kombu in your local Asian food store or Japanese market. This product is also available on our online store and through the link below.

Nori 海苔 - Edible seaweed sheet

Nori 海苔 – Edible seaweed sheet

What is nori?

Nori, the Japanese name for dry edible seaweed sheets is made from red algae (though it looks green). The red algae species used to make Nori are porphyra yezoensis and porphyra tenera.
It is gotten from the sea, washed with fresh water and then passed through a shredding machine that reduces it to small pieces. These pieces are mixed with freshwater, passed through square or rectangular frames, drained and then dried on a heated surface. The final results are dried seaweed sheets that are immediately packed and sealed to prevent moisture from getting in. The Nori making process is just like that of paper-making

There are different types of Nori

1. Light green Nori: this type of Nori is loosely woven and almost transparent. It can also be brown in colour. It is a cheap variety that is common because of its affordability. Its use for sushi is however limited because of its low quality.

2. The dark green Nori: this type of Nori, known as the sushi Nori is dark in colour to the point of almost being black. It is tightly woven, opaque and referred to as the “delicate shin-Nori”, meaning that it’s the Nori of the first of the year’s many harvests. It is preferred for making sushi: the darker it is, the better it is for sushi. In fact, you can make any sushi out of this.

Not any type of Nori can be used for sushi as it is the first ingredient the tongue comes into contact with. The best type of Nori the higher quality harvested earlier in the season. Its unique taste and high quality is a function of location, water temperature and mineral content of the sea. This might explain why the finest Nori can is produced on the Ariake Bay, Kyushu Island of Southern Japan.
The best type of Nori for sushi is that which is very dark in colour (like black) and uniformly thick. Upon closer inspection, it should be smooth, crisp, have a natural sweetness and subtle but rich flavour.

High quality Nori is also crunchy yet it melts easily in the mouth
If the Nori is brownish or obviously green in colour with a rough finish or irregularities, it’s of poor quality and should not be used for sushi. It is also tasteless and bland with a noticeable toughness that is not appealing.

How to use nori?

Nori is used in most kinds of sushi. It provides the roll with a unique seaweed flavor, holds many nutritious benefits and most importantly it plays a functional part by keeping the roll together.

A fresh nori should come dry, very dry. Once it interacts with the moist rice, it becomes sticky, hence when wrapping the rice it acts as a firm yet sticky “skin” for the sushi roll. For that reason, in order to make the most of the nori, it must be kept in a super-dry environment before used, or else, it will not stick well and the sushi roll will probably fall apart faster than you can say “Hara-kiri”.

Where can I get nori?

In most asian stores and markets probably. There are many producers and suppliers at different costs and values. You should find out which types suits your taste and budget best. It is important to know that nori sheets are hard to store after opening, and usually the remains are thrown away. Therefor it is best to buy the smaller packs of 10 sheets, rather than the larger 50 or 100 sheets packs.

Gari, it's basically pickled ginger (sushi)

Gari, it’s basically pickled ginger (sushi)

What is sushi Gari?

Gari are thin slices of pickled ginger. Commercial Gari is usually colored pink, and sometimes can be obtained in its original color – yellow, as the inside of ginger is.

Gari is served with every meal of sushi. It is usually consumed between different sushi dishes, or sushi piece in order to cleanse the palate, and not as an integral part of the sushi piece.

It is a common product to find in Asian markets in various sizes. Not much of it needed for one meal of sushi, so the smaller packs/jars are usually the ones taken. Also, Gari can be prepared at home. Following this introduction, is a video guide on how to make gari at home, and suggestions where to buy Gari online.

How to Make  Pickled Ginger (gari) at home

Tired of getting you pickled ginger in a can? Had enough of the awful aftertaste of food preservatives?

It’s probably time you learned how to make your own pickled ginger (AKA Gari).
As this video explained, pickling ginger is an easy task that any sushi fan should be able to perform himself, why can’t you?



What is sushi wasabi?

Wasabi, also known as “Japanese horseradish”, is a hot Japanese spice root and an important item on any sushi table. Some like to mix it with soy sauce bowl for future dipping, and some rather place it directly on the sushi just before they eat. For more information about the origin of wasabi, check out wasabi on Wikipedia.

Wasabi products for sushi can be obtained in Asian food stores in the form of dried powder or ready to use paste, and used in very small doses (pea-sized or less). In order to fully enjoy your Wasabi – you should use the dried wasabi powder to produce your own fresh wasabi paste – the following guide will walk you through this simple process.


Making wasabi paste from wasabi powder

step 1

Since the wasabi powder needs to stay dry when kept in order to stay fresh – try carefully not to dent the can top when opening. This way, your wasabi can last for a long sushi making period.

Use a dry teaspoon (or pour gently right from the can as shown in the animation). 3-4 teaspoons should be enough for a sushi session depending on your personal wasabi consuming habits.

step 2

Add a small amount of cold water, about 1:1 ratio with the amount of wasabi powder you used and stir until a solid mixture is obtained. Now you need to gently balance the mixture with a bit more powder if you like your Wasabi thick, or water if you want it to be thinner.

step 3

Now that the wasabi paste is ready, you can form it into shapes – try to be original and surprise your sushi guests!



What is an avocado?

Avocado is one of the most common fruits used in sushi. It is cholesterol free, and blends perfectly with the look and feel of the sushi roll. Because of its natural “fatty” taste and feel, the avocado is an ideal substitute for the raw fish commonly used in sushi.

The best kind of avocado to use in sushi is, in our opinion, is the Hass avocado. You can recognise a Hass avocado by its pebbly dark green skin.

For more information on different variation of avocado, visit:

How to use Avocado in sushi

Hass Avocado.
  1. Cut the avocado in half.
  2. Peel the skin, and remove the seed.
  3. For sushi filling: cut the avocado into 1-2cm thin slices.
  4. For sushi topping:
    1. Use a peeler to peel very thin slices of avocado.
    2. Place the peels on top of an inside-out sushi roll.
    3. Use the bamboo mat to press the peels firmly to the roll.


sweet potato

sweet potato

Why sweet potato?

Sweet potato works extremely well in sushi. It does so especially when used as topping for an inside-out roll. Its color is naturally vivid and thus contributes much to the aesthetic effort.

Sweet potato can also be used for sushi roll filling, with or without tempura – it works very well, especially for veggie rolls as the main filling.

Since it is a hard root vegetable, the sweet potato requires some preparation in order to be used in a sushi dish. Below you can find some suggestions how to do so.

Using sweet potato for sushi topping

  1. Wash the sweet potato thoroughly, and remove the skin with a peeler.
  2. Use the peeler to slice thin slices of the sweet potato. Peel them as big as you can.
  3. Fry the slices for a few seconds in hot oil.
  4. After frying, let cool for a few minutes.
  5. Refrain from laying the fried slices on top of each other, it tends to cling.
  6. Once chilled, cover an uncut inside roll with fried sweet potato slices, and tighten with the bamboo mat.
  7. Cut the roll.